A dog who has parvovirus is usually very ill and may be unable to recover. Typical symptoms include vomiting and diarrhea, resulting in a dog who is both exhausted and dehydrated. This disease can infect dogs of all ages, but is particularly hard on puppies who can easily die from the combination of dehydration and septicemia.
Parvo is an extremely hardy virus that can exist outside of the body for as long as two years and still be able to cause an infection if ingested. Humans who have any kind of contact with a sick dog are at very high risk of transmitting the infection to other dogs. The virus is easily carried on clothing, shoes, purses or other objects where it can be picked up by any dog who comes into contact with it.
The best way to protect dogs from parvovirus is by a rigorous vaccination program. Mother dogs should have all of their shots before their pups are born and puppies must get the parvo vaccine as part of their regular health care to ensure that they have immunity. Most disinfectants will not kill the parvovirus; a solution of bleach and water is the best way to destroy the virus on dishes and other surfaces.
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